HomeLatest NewsTragic End: Vietnam Veteran Dies After Alabama Police Officer's Paralyzing Body Slam

Tragic End: Vietnam Veteran Dies After Alabama Police Officer’s Paralyzing Body Slam

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A 68-year-old Vietnam War veteran, suffering from dementia, died six months after being paralyzed by an Alabama police officer in 2020. His case was featured in an Associated Press series investigating the use of non-lethal force by law enforcement.

Carl Grant, who was going to the grocery store on Super Bowl Day, accidentally drove from Georgia to Alabama. The veteran, who was disoriented, tried to enter the home of a stranger, thinking it was his home. The homeowner called the police after this. Grant was handcuffed by the officers, but they later discovered that he had dementia. They let him go back to the precinct.

Around an hour later Grant was discovered sitting on a porch chair outside another house. Officers were called to investigate a burglary and found the veteran.

Grant turned and walked toward the front entrance. The body-camera footage shows Officer Vincent Larry telling Grant that he could not enter, and then pushing him down the porch steps.

Grant lay face down on the floor as Larry and his fellow officers struggled with handcuffing him. Grant shouted, “Call the police!” as they struggled to handcuff him.

They also started to notice signs of confusion – Grant could not tell them what day it was or the year. A sergeant then asked Larry whether they should place Grant in protective custody. Larry went ahead with the arrest and claimed that Grant had assaulted him. Larry wrote in his report that Grant had struck him with closed fists, but he told police investigators later the shove was what caused Grant to punch himself as he fell.

Officer Larry then accompanied Grant, who was suffering from a head injury caused by the fall, to the University of Alabama of Birmingham Hospital for treatment. The officer was responsible for the fall that caused Grant to be paralyzed.

It took several hours. The officer reported that it was now 3 am. Grant had stepped out of the exam room and was telling Larry to charge his phone. His mind did not realize the distance was 200 miles. Larry reported that he had told Grant to stay as they were about to be discharged but Grant refused.

The hospital surveillance video shows Larry reaching for Grant’s elbow and flipping him over. According to the police investigation, this “hip-toss” is not taught in the academy. Grant landed flat on his back. According to a nurse, his head bounced about four inches from the floor. His body was limp.

Larry handcuffed Grant after rolling him over on his stomach. This was the third time Grant had been restrained within six hours.

Grant died six months after his accident. The death certificate worksheet attributes his paralysis to “physical assault and body slam.”

Ronda Hernandez described her feelings of loss following Grant’s death. She lamented, “I used to be able to tuck Grant into bed, kiss him, and say, ‘I love him.'” Now, she can’t.

William Jenkins, Grant’s younger brother, filed a suit in 2022. The judge dismissed the case, however, because Officer Larry and the city were not notified that a lawsuit was going to be filed within the legal deadline. Jenkin’s lawyers are appealing the decision.

Larry is no longer employed by the city. He received a suspension of 15 days as a result. He now works part-time as an officer in a Birmingham suburban area.

Grant’s story serves as a reminder that a lack in training combined with an aggressive and overzealous police officer can lead to the death of a person.

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